Setting email posting permissions

Simplelists is designed to be flexible so that it will suit your needs exactly. You might want to send email newsletters to a list of customers with you alone being able to post to the list. Or, maybe you have a team of people who will all need to be able to send emails to your customers. Or, perhaps you would like to use your list for a private group discussion and you would like anyone on the list to be able to contribute. Whatever your needs, you can customise your list by setting posting permissions. In this short post, we explain how you do this.

Posting restrictions

Login and navigate ‘list settings’ in the left hand menu. Under the ‘Posting restrictions’ tab you will see the heading ‘posting permissions’ with three radio buttons next to it:

  • Allow anyone to send messages
  • Hold all messages for approval
  • Choose specific people who can send messages

If you select ‘Allow anyone to send messages’, this permits both members and non-members to send messages to your list without approval being necessary. As an alternative, you can choose to ‘Hold all messages for approval’.

Or, select ‘Choose specific people who can send messages’ to grant specific people permission to send messages to the list. With this third option, you can select all list members or provide the individual email addresses of those permitted to send messages to the list. Just enter their addresses in the box that appears when you select this option. This setting is useful for private group discussions as you can choose to have only specific people post to the list. This setting is also useful for email marketing and newsletters.

Email replies

When thinking about permissions, you may wish to consider where email replies are sent. Select the ‘Email customisation’ tab and, under the heading ‘List replies’, choose whether the reply is sent to the person who sent the original message (select ‘Replies go to poster of message’) or to the whole list (select ‘Replies go to list email addresses’). In this section you also have the option to strip attachments from the messages that are sent, truncate long messages to a set character limit, and add a message footer to be attached to all emails sent.

You can watch these instructions in a short video in a previous post on our blog.

Group email made simple – a reminder of our features

Simplelists is designed to be quick, easy and simple to use. It also has a collection of powerful features for users who want more from their email management software. In this short post, we remind our customers of the power of Simplelists and let those who are thinking of joining us know about the range of features available.

Simplelists features

Fast setup

With Simplelists, you can set up your list in just a few minutes. You simply log into your
account and then add people to your list. All you need is their name and email address – you can add people manually or in bulk from a spreadsheet or CSV file. Once a person is added, they will appear as a list member. You can also download your list members’ details to a spreadsheet with a click of a button.

Set restrictions

You have the option to choose who can send messages to your list. For example, you can allow all members to send emails, select members who can send messages, or make sure it is just yourself that can send messages. You can also choose whether replies are sent to the whole list or just to the person who sent the original email. To ensure quality emails are circulated, you can opt to approve and moderate emails before they are sent to the list. The size of emails can also be limited, and attachments can be stripped if required.

Customise your emails

You can let list members’ email addresses be seen, or keep them hidden from other members. Other features include: the ability to add a personalised footer; send your emails in HTML rather than plain text; and personalise your emails by automatically adding details such as the recipient’s name in the email. Once sent, you can archive your emails and access them from a custom website at any time. If you have a busy list, daily digest summaries are a useful feature – instead of receiving emails when they are posted, members receive one email every 24 hours.

Customise subscriptions and integrate with websites

You can choose whether new members can join your list when they wish, or whether this requires approval. Similarly, you can set unsubscribe options, allowing members to leave your list when they choose. To allow members to join your list easily, you can add a subscribe form to your website (this form is fully customisable so you can match it perfectly to the design of your website) and you can easily replace the Simplelists branding with your own logo or branding on all landing pages (where members go when clicking on email/form links). An API is available to enable you to synchronise your Simplelists account with other websites and a multiple list account can be integrated with your domain so that users receive emails from your domain rather than Simplelists.

Automated list management

When an email to one of your list members bounces, you will receive a message to let you know. To save you time, list members with email addresses that bounce messages repeatedly can be removed automatically from your list. If a list member marks your email as spam, they will automatically be removed from the list. This ensures that emails are not repeatedly marked as spam, keeping delivery rates high.

Once your list is set up, you can email everyone on your list from your normal email address. Just send them message to [yourlist]@simplelists.com. It really is that simple. If you would like to try out Simplelists, you can sign up for a free single list account today.

Using your own domain with Simplelists

If you have a multiple list account, you can use your own domain to replace simplelists.com. In fact, you can add as many domains as you like, which means you can totally brand the system as your own. Combine using your own domain with branding your landing pages for truly professional results. This short post will explain how to use your own domain and, once you have done this, how to improve the deliverability of your emails.

Using your own domain

Set up your own domain

Setting up your own domain is easy. Log in to your Simplelists multiple list account, navigate to ‘General Settings’ in the left-hand menu and select the ‘Domains’ tab. Enter your domain name and click ‘Add’. In the list that follows, set your domain name as ‘primary’. You can then view your new email addresses on the ‘List members’ page in the left-hand menu.

Configure MX records

Once your domain name is added, you must configure its mail exchange records, using your web hosting control panel. Set the Primary MX record to ‘mx1.simplelists.com’ and the Secondary to ‘mx2.simplelists.com’. You can see instructions for how to do this using cPanel in this short video. Note that it can take up to 72 hours for the MX changes to come into effect, depending on your web hosting settings.

Make sure your emails are received

There are some simple steps that you can take to improve the deliverability of your emails. SPF records prevent spammers from sending messages with forged email addresses from your domain. DKIM records help to verify the sender and prove that a message has not been altered in transit.

If you are using your own domain, it is recommended that you add both of these DNS records to your domain. When logged into Simplelists with your multiple list account selected, navigate to ‘General Settings’ and the ‘Domains’ tab. Scroll down to find the details you’ll need to add the DNS records. You can then open your web hosting control panel and complete the required fields for the SPF and DKIM records. You can see instructions for how to do this using cPanel in this short video.

All of these instructions can be viewed in two short videos on a previous post on our blog.

Email archives

Archives are an easy way to keep a record of all emails that have been sent to your list. This can be very useful for groups that use Simplelists for private group discussion as new members can quickly become familiar with topics that have previously been covered. Everything that has been discussed can be seen and reviewed, like minutes of a meeting, and revisiting old topics can be streamlined by referencing the previous messages. In this short post, we tell you how to set up and personalise your email archive in Simplelists.

Group emails archives

Enable the archive

To enable email archives, simply log in, go to ‘Archive Settings’ (in the left-hand menu) and select ‘Enable archives’. You can also choose to show or hide email addresses, make archives private, or protect them with a password. When you have changed the settings, click ‘update’ to save your choices.

View the archive

To view your archive, simply go to the web address shown at the top of the ‘Archive Settings’ page. When you click on this link, you will see that each month’s emails can be viewed by date or by thread. Click on the ‘by date’ or ‘by thread’ links in the right-hand column to show the view you prefer. You can then browse to find emails that have been sent.

Personalise the archive

It is also possible to personalise your archives page by using your own logo instead of the Simplelists logo. Click on ‘General Settings’ in the left-hand menu and add the web address of the image in the ‘Custom image’ box. You can also learn more about personalising your landing pages and other Simplelists features in a previous post.

That’s all there is to setting up your email archive. Simple! You can view also these instructions in a short video in a previous post on our blog.

Say no to ‘no-reply’ email addresses

It is becoming more widely accepted that ‘no-reply’ email addresses can be harmful to an email campaign. The ‘no-reply’ email address effectively stops, or tries to put people off from, replying to your emails. While this may help to ensure that your inbox doesn’t become cluttered, it gives a negative message to readers – in effect, you don’t want to hear back from them. This probably isn’t good for business. If you still use ‘no-reply’ email addresses in your business/email marketing communications, this post contains some reasons why you might want to stop.

 No reply email

Email deliverability will be affected

Many email services and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) detect the response of an email’s recipient to gauge whether the email is legitimate or not. Whether a recipient opens, clicks, replies, unsubscribes, forwards or deletes the message determines whether the message is considered as ‘good’ or as ‘spam’. Gmail, for example, ranks the importance of an email based on the recipient’s action – if the recipient replies, Gmail is more likely to class the email as ‘important’. If your recipient can’t reply, your emails are likely to end up in the Spam/Junk folders (read more about keeping your emails out of spam in an earlier post).

Some people also don’t look for the (sometimes very small) unsubscribe link, instead hitting ‘reply’ to request they be unsubscribed from the mailing list. If they then learn that replying is not possible (either because the reply email starts with ‘no-reply’ or similar, or their email is returned undelivered), they are then likely to click ‘report spam’. You can read more about spam management and delivery rates in one of our other posts.

Missed chance to be added to contact lists

One way to ensure that your email reaches the recipient’s inbox is if your email address has been added to their contact list (this means it has been ‘whitelisted’). Most ISPs do not allow users to add ‘no-reply’ emails to their address books. If they are unable to reply to your emails, they are also unlikely to add you manually. Email providers like Gmail and Yahoo automatically add an email address to a contact list if the user sends a message to it so it makes sense that recipients should be able to respond.

Reduced conversion rate

In the age of social media and online identities/persona, receiving communications from a ‘machine/robot’ means that the sender of an email has no personal touch. People probably still like to feel that there is a real person sending the email to them! With a ‘no-reply’ email, it is much less likely that the recipient will take action on what is in the email. Using an address like ‘customer-services’ or a real name is likely to be much more effective when encouraging customers to respond to a call to action. Similarly, make sure the name that appears in the recipient’s inbox shows your brand clearly (e.g. ‘Simplelists Account Verification’ rather than just ‘Account Verification’).

Makes it harder to keep your email list up to date

Some people also hit ‘reply’ to update their details with you. A real email address will allow you to find valuable information in the replies that will ensure that your contact list is kept up-to-date. Excluding incorrect email addresses from your mailing list will also help your deliverability rates and prevent your messages from being sent to spam.

Daily digest summary emails

A daily digest summary is an email containing a compilation of new emails sent by members of a list. This can be a handy function to avoid clogging up members’ inboxes, reducing the number of emails they have to scan each day. To receive an email digest, members will need to opt to receive it. In this short post, we explain how to set up daily digest summaries with Simplelists.

Daily digest summary email

Pros and cons of email digests

Daily digest summaries can be useful for busy lists. Instead of receiving emails when they are posted, Simplelists list members can receive one email every 24 hours. This prevents members becoming inundated with emails when discussions are active and allows them to pick and choose which email discussions are more important for them to read, at a time that suits them.

It can sometimes be tricky to ensure optimum formatting of digest emails, when the original emails are pulled automatically into the digest. The digest needs to be appealing to read and easy to navigate. It can also be a challenge to decide which information should be included in the digest. Too much or too little information may have the same effect as being inundated with individual emails – members may simply delete it.

An easy-to-digest digest

To make sure digests are accessible and appealing to Simplelists list members, most formatting is stripped from the emails, in order to create a clean, easy to follow summary. A link is included for each message, which allows members to reply back to the list. If archives are enabled, links to attachments and the original emails are contained in the digest.

Enabling digest summaries

Enabling daily digest summaries is very easy. Log in and navigate to list members in the left hand menu. In the Address Book, you can see which members receive summaries and which don’t – a cross or a tick will appear next to their name in the ‘Digest format’ column. To enable daily digest summaries for specific members, edit their details by ticking the checkbox next to their name and selecting ‘Edit’. On the Edit Members screen, you can then check the ‘Digest’ box and then ‘Update’ to ensure that they receive it (a green tick should now show next to their name when you return to the Address Book).

When adding members to your list in bulk, you can set all members to receive digest summaries. Click on ‘Add many’ in the Address Book and then add your members’ details. Before clicking ‘Add Addresses’, make sure you have checked the ‘Set added members to receive daily digest email’ box on the left.

You can watch a demo of enabling daily digest summary emails in this short video.

Setting up multiple lists with Simplelists

Sometimes, you need more than one email list. You may need separate lists for different businesses, groups or organisations, or different lists for groups within your organisation. For example, one list for employees and another for managers, or individual lists for different topics, such as one list for marketing and another for discussion. In this short post, we tell you how to set up multiple lists using Simplelists (or watch a short video if you prefer).

Multiple email lists

Getting started

It is very straightforward to set up multiple lists. Simply go to simplelists.com, navigate to Products, select the blue ‘Sign up free for a multiple list’ arrow and fill in your details. You’ll have the option to choose a subdomain for your list (if you own your own domain, you’ll be able to add this later). There is a free, one-month trial for multiple lists so that you can try before you buy.

Managing the lists

To manage your multiple lists, simply log in using your simplelists username and password and select your multiple lists account from the ‘Account’ drop-down menu on the top right of the screen. On the next screen, verifying your account enables you to add members to your lists without needing them to confirm their email address (although you can still use the confirmation functionality to check that emails are valid). Simply enter the details of your organisation, what your list is used for, and how you obtained the emails (you can read another post about the rules around how people can opt-in to receiving your emails). Once you have done this, you can create a list by navigating to ‘manage lists’ in the left-hand menu, type in the name of the list, and click ‘Create’. This is where you could create a number of lists for your different groups (e.g. managers, employees and customers).

Adding members to your lists

Once you have created the lists, you can add some members. Select the address book from the left-hand navigation and choose to add members individually, in bulk, or by uploading a .csv file. If you choose to add them individually, you can enter their details and their email address and then select which list they will belong to. You can also add notes about the members if you wish. 

To view the members of your list, select ‘list members’ from the left-hand menu. The email address for your list can be seen at the top of this page. It is possible to use your own domain name for this email address and we will show you how to do this in an upcoming blog post, or you can view a short video that explains what to do).